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Book Reviews: Mad + Nightmares, Part 1

Mad by Chloe Esposito
Alvina Knightly is train wreck full of boiling anger and screeching hysteria. Her life is going down the toilet when she is contacted by her estranged identical twin Beth. Alvina finds Beth perennially annoying and is haunted by Beth’s egregious betrayal. While visiting with Beth and her perfect family in her perfect house, Alvina makes an irrevocable choice.

Alvina soon learns that Beth didn’t have the perfect life, as she finds herself surrounded by sex, violence, betrayal and murder. This was very good. But one wonders, why did Alvina’s mother have such vituperation for her since birth? It was obviously highly detrimental to Alvina and where were social services during the years of emotional abuse and neglect? I’ll read the sequel

Best Line:
“What he have to expel me for, just because I set fire to his car?”

~
Nightmares: A New Decade Of Modern Horror edited by Ellen Datlow, part 1

Shallaballah
This tale of a soap star is not emotionally potent. I’m not sure what was going on or what the motivational factor was.

Sob In The Silence
A horror writer has guests over. It’s too bad for them, he isn’t a nice man. This is a good cold, cruel tale.

Best Line:
“They’re going to be bothered.”

Our Turn Too Will One Day Come
A man gets a call in the middle of the night from his sister. Something terrible has happened and because of it, he learns the dark secret of his family. Good.

Dead Sea Fruit
A weird tale.

Closet Dreams
Something terrible happened to her when she was a little girl. This is a very good sad tale with a dark twist.

Spectral Evidence
By Gemma Files. This is an excellent tale of psychics and a haunting pieced together.

Hushabye
A man learns a monster lurks and takes an intractable position on the sinister and frightening thing. This was okay.

Very Low-Flying Aircraft
This was not horror just a dull tale of a plane accident.

The Goosle
This is a nightmarish retelling of ‘Hansel & Gretel’. It is darkity dark dark darkness.

The Clay Party
A Donner Party like tale. Okay.

Strappado
A tale to an art exhibit leads to a critical state of distress. Okay.

Lonegan’s Luck
A snake oil salesman brings death and hell follows with him. This was good with a neat twist.

Mr Pigsny
A funeral reveals a grim legacy and the grim consequences of an irretrievably evil man’s deleterious last deal. This was good and creepy.

Best Lines:
“Extravagantly insincere.”

“Fooling himself that he was a man of consequence.”

At Night, When The Demons Come
After a demon-apocalypse there is malign behaviour and a new category of behaviour. The ‘hero’ has abdicated all moral responsibilities. This was good with an ominous ending.

Was She Wicked? Was She Good?
A girl torments fairies and is punished. This is an okay tale of blame and responsibility.
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